Viral Justice: Book summary and reviews of Viral Justice by Ruha Benjamin

Viral Justice

How We Grow the World We Want

by Ruha Benjamin

Viral Justice by Ruha Benjamin X
Viral Justice by Ruha Benjamin
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About this book

Book Summary

An inspiring vision of how we can build a more just world - one small change at a time.

Long before the pandemic, Ruha Benjamin was doing groundbreaking research on race, technology, and justice, focusing on big, structural changes. But the twin plagues of COVID-19 and anti-Black police violence inspired her to rethink the importance of small, individual actions. Part memoir, part manifesto, Viral Justice is a sweeping and deeply personal exploration of how we can transform society through the choices we make every day.

Vividly recounting her personal experiences and those of her family, Benjamin shows how seemingly minor decisions and habits could spread virally and have exponentially positive effects. She recounts her father's premature death, illuminating the devastating impact of the chronic stress of racism, but she also introduces us to community organizers who are fostering mutual aid and collective healing. Through her brother's experience with the criminal justice system, we see the trauma caused by policing practices and mass imprisonment, but we also witness family members finding strength as they come together to demand justice for their loved ones. And while her own challenges as a young mother reveal the vast inequities of our healthcare system, Benjamin also describes how the support of doulas and midwives can keep Black mothers and babies alive and well.

Born of a stubborn hopefulness, Viral Justice offers a passionate, inspiring, and practical vision of how small changes can add up to large ones, transforming our relationships and communities and helping us build a more just and joyful world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Benjamin, a professor of African American studies at Princeton, offers an impassioned argument for the need to foster the "deep-rooted interdependence" that characterizes strong communities and to counter the ableism, sexism, racism, and classism that lead to injustice and inequality...A powerful, urgent plea for individual responsibility in an unjust world." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"his a rich and engaging space for collective healing, integrity, and social commentary on the reasons why structural hurdles must be removed for racial justice to ever be achieved." - Library Journal

"This is an openhearted, multilayered work that vibrates with ideas on ways to make a new world out of the interlocking crises of COVID-19 and racial capitalism. Progress may be a 'tear-soaked mirage,' as Benjamin writes, yet her book is far from devoid of a sense of humor or hope, full of ways to 'live poetically' while remaking the systems that have failed us." - New York Magazine

"Ruha Benjamin is among our sharpest, most expansive thinkers on the manifold inequalities of the current order. Viral Justice reckons with the practices that uphold that order and how we might dare to change the world―a book as urgent as the moment that produced it." - Jelani Cobb, Columbia Journalism School

"This book is an education. Wide-ranging and provocative, soaring yet grounded, Viral Justice reveals how racism poisons our bodies, communities, and institutions, but the book also chronicles inspired movements seeking repair and justice. The work of a beautiful mind and spirit, it moves fast―mixing memoir with social analysis and community engagement―and left me challenged and hopeful and stirred." - Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

This information about Viral Justice was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is an internationally recognized writer, speaker, and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She is the award-winning author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code and editor of Captivating Technology, among many other publications. Her work has been featured widely in the media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Root, and the Guardian.

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